Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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22 Nov 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Hillary Clinton calls for Stephen Miller to step down from the White House, as the Conservative Party in the UK faces backlash for failing to remove a Councillor that made numerous anti-Muslim comments. Our recommended read today is on the growing anti-muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka that helped give rise to the election of the new President. This and more below:

Sri Lanka

22 Nov 2019

Recommended Read | Sri Lanka's Muslims have reason to fear the new Rajapaksa era

The newly-elected president, who served as defence secretary under his authoritarian older brother between 2005-2015 and helped him bring an end to Sri Lanka's 26-year war with Tamil rebels, based his campaign for Saturday's election on providing strong leadership on national security issues in general and the perceived threat of "Muslim extremism" in particular. This raised concerns among Sri Lanka's human rights activists, who fear Gotabaya could repeat the human rights violations allegedly committed against minorities during his brother's tenure. The growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka that at least partially led to the election of Gotabaya as president is the cumulative result of a set of insecurities specific to the Sinhalese majority. First, the Sinhalese believe that Muslims in Sri Lanka, who first arrived on the island as traders and continued to be involved in trade over the centuries, are economically better-off than the rest of the Sri Lankan population. This perception fosters a sense of unfair distribution of wealth and is one of the underlying causes behind the long-simmering tensions between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities, which led to bursts of communal violence even before the Easter Sunday attacks. read the complete article

Recommended Read


22 Nov 2019

Indian Muslim Sanskrit professor in hiding after rightwing protests

A Muslim scholar of Sanskrit has gone into hiding after protests from some rightwing Hindu students claiming that, as a Muslim, he cannot teach Sanskrit, the ancient classical language of Hinduism. Feroz Khan, 29, was the unanimous choice of a selection committee at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi for the post of assistant professor of Sanskrit literature. The committee members were impressed with his erudition, which stems from a childhood passion for the language that continued into further education. But on 7 November, two days after Khan took up the post, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a rightwing student organisation with a Hindu nationalist ideology, staged a campus protest demanding that Khan be moved to a different faculty. Khan has been stunned at the protests. His Muslim family, who live in a village not far from Jaipur in Rajasthan, is unusual in that his father, Ramzan Khan, also studied Sanskrit and is famous in the area for singing Hindu devotional songs and working as a volunteer in a cow shelter. Hindu priests in the area have come out and supported his son’s appointment. read the complete article

United States

22 Nov 2019

Denver mosque threat suspect charged, but the case isn't a hate crime, DA says

The man accused of threatening members of a Denver mosque while he was armed with an airsoft gun has been charged with felony menacing, but the case won't be prosecuted as a hate crime, the district attorney's office said Thursday. Benjamin Casillas-Rocha, 24, faces five counts of felony menacing after he reportedly pointed what appeared to be a long gun at four people outside the Masjid Al-Shuhadaa mosque in the 2900 block of North Downing Street on Nov. 14, according to a probable cause statement from police. Casillas-Rocha had been at the mosque earlier in the day and was upset about losing his phone, which he believed was inside the building, police documents said. The investigation revealed he returned to the mosque later in the day, under the influence of an unknown narcotic, and started yelling anti-Muslim remarks while pointing the rifle at the four victims, the documents said. He left the vicinity after hearing police had been called to the area. read the complete article

22 Nov 2019

Hillary Clinton calls for adviser Stephen Miller's removal from the White House, calling his presence an 'emergency', as pressure mounts on the immigration hawk

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called on Stephen Miller to be fired after the White House adviser was accused of promoting 'white nationalist and racist propaganda.' 'Every day Stephen Miller remains in the White House is an emergency,' Clinton tweeted on Tuesday along with a letter endorsed by groups like the NAACP. The letter to Donald Trump says that Miller, who has helped to guide the president's immigration policy, 'has stoked bigotry, hate, and division with his extreme political rhetoric and policies throughout his career.' read the complete article

22 Nov 2019

Laura Loomer’s ‘Nonsensical’ Lawsuit Killed by Judge

Far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer lost a lawsuit against a Muslim-rights organization this week after a judge ruled that her entire case was “to put it mildly, nonsensical.” Loomer was a prominent anti-Muslim internet personality until she was banned from most major social media platforms beginning last year. Since then, she has launched a congressional bid, which she acknowledged in a campaign email was at least partially a ploy to have her social media accounts restored. She also filed a lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations earlier this year, accusing the civil rights group of plotting to take down her Twitter account. Many of her claims in that lawsuit originated from a prank by leftist Twitter users who quickly confessed to the stunt. That didn’t stop Loomer from pursuing the lawsuit to its doomed end on Wednesday. Twitter banned Loomer in November 2018, after years of anti-Muslim posts. (She is also banned from Uber, Lyft, Venmo, GoFundMe, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms for similar infractions.) But Loomer, who has promoted a number of conspiracy theories (she made her first headlines attempting to accuse her university of supporting ISIS) soon latched onto an elaborate explanation for her ban. read the complete article

United Kingdom

22 Nov 2019

Bristol anti-Islamophobia group aims to 'demystify Muslims'

Hasina Khan, from the Tackling Islamophobia Working Group (TIWG) said it was "in some aspects the first opportunity for some to meet Muslims". She said it was a chance to "ask questions, have fun trying on hijabs" and talk about the rise in hate crime. Since 2017, 72% of religious hate crimes against women in Bristol were anti-Muslim, police said. Ms Khan, who said she had experienced hate crime, said: "The people who have come over say 'this is really important what you are doing'. "I think it's because of the amount of hate crime and there's also a bit of mystery about Muslim people. "There's a lot of positivity and awareness of what we're doing today, there'll be more harmony in the community." read the complete article

22 Nov 2019

Conservative Party slammed for ‘quietly reinstating’ councillor who made anti-Muslim comments

Councillor David Abbott was suspended in April for his anti-Muslim statements in Facebook groups, in which he referred to British Muslims as ‘Mohammedans’. In another Facebook post written by Mr Abbott, he wrote: ‘Moslems are commanded to do everything in their power, including killing, to rid the world of every person who does not follow Islam.’ The comments at the time were uncovered by ‘MatesJacob’, a Twitter account dedicated to calling out Islamophobia and racism in the Conservative Party. In a Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group page, which is not officially affiliated with Mr Rees-Mogg, Mr Abbott posted: ‘The philosophy seems to be “breed for Islam”, thus the percentage of the population who follow the “religion of peace” will significantly increase’. The Conservative Party had suspended Mr Abbott, who was an independent councillor initially, but announced he was a Conservative candidate for the May local elections. Since the suspension in April, Mr Abbott appears to have been reinstated as a Conservative Councillor. read the complete article

22 Nov 2019

Farage under fire for conspiracy claims linked to antisemitism

Nigel Farage has faced renewed criticism for discussing tropes and conspiracy theories associated with the far right and antisemitism after it emerged he said migration would “imperil the future of our civilisation” and called Goldman Sachs “the enemy”. In an interview earlier this year with a tiny UK evangelical Christian TV channel, Revelation TV, the Brexit party leader alleged that banks and multinational corporations were trying to created a dictatorial world government. The discussion, uncovered by the group Hope Not Hate, saw Farage single out Goldman Sachs, the investment bank founded by Jewish immigrant to the US that is often the focus of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Farage also repeatedly used phrases such as “globalists” and “new world order”, which regularly feature in antisemitic ideas. Discussing the necessity of preventing migrants who cross the Mediterranean into Europe from entering the UK, Farage said: “If we allow it to continue, we will actually, through our compassion, imperil the future of our civilisation.” The notion that European countries will have their cultures superseded by mass immigration is a repeated element of far-right ideas, such as the so-called “great replacement” theory. read the complete article


22 Nov 2019

Myanmar faces three international courts for Rohingya genocide –what good will they do?

Last week, three separate judicial actions were undertaken against Myanmar. The charges are the same in each: genocide and other human rights abuses committed against the Rohingya minority in that country. As expected, the Myanmar government has not accepted any of these proceedings and says that its own agencies will investigate any crime. However, no investigation has taken place since the crackdown on the Rohingya began three years ago and moreover there is overwhelming evidence that the government itself contributed to the planning and the execution of the genocide. So there seems to be very little hope that these legal processes will bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes and provide relief to the Rohingyas. But that doesn’t mean they are pointless. If it produces a strong ruling, the UN Security Council could decide to intervene, either through sanctions against Myanmar or even in military action. The prospects of either outcome seem low: even though the Security Council has been properly informed about the situation, it has used neither political authority nor resources to solve the problem. Will an ICJ ruling change its willingness? Everything is possible, even when it is not credible. read the complete article

22 Nov 2019

Rohingya crisis: Myanmar leader Suu Kyi to head legal team contesting genocide case

Myanmar has said its leader Aung San Suu Kyi will head the legal team contesting a genocide case filed against it in the International Court of Justice over the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims two years ago that set off their exodus to Bangladesh. The country's military has been accused of carrying out mass rapes, killings and arsons against Rohingya during a counterinsurgency campaign initiated in western Myanmar in August 2017 after rebel attacks. When filing the case, Gambia's justice minister and attorney general, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, told The Associated Press he wanted to “send a clear message to Myanmar and to the rest of the international community that the world must not stand by and do nothing in the face of terrible atrocities that are occurring around us. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right before our own eyes”. The head of a UN fact-finding mission in Myanmar warned last month that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring”, and the mission also said in its final report in September that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Nov 2019 Edition


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